Cuddle 500 Kitties At This Cat Sanctuary In Hawaii

Posted in Cat Stories - Last Updated: August 14, 2021 - Author:  Jan Travell
Posted in Cat Stories 
Last Updated: August 14, 2021  
Author:  Jan Travell

If you’re planning a holiday to Hawaii and you love cats then you might want to pay a visit to the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. People from all over the world are visiting this heavenly place and it’s easy to see why when you look at the pictures of all the kitties.

Located on the small Hawaiian island of Lanai, the sanctuary covers 25,000 square foot and is home to almost 500 cats. No need for cages here, the cats are allowed to roam and explore at their leisure and at visiting time get all the human attention they could ever want.

around 20 rescue cats lying around relaxing

The cats or “Hawaiian Lions,” as the sanctuary calls them, have large huts and trees to climb on, and plenty of grass on which to sun themselves, no wonder the sanctuary’s executive director refers to it as the “Furr” Seasons!

All of the cats are available for either foster or adoption, and any cat that doesn’t find a home is allowed to spend the rest of its life at the sanctuary. The lucky things!

Why was the Lanai Cat Sanctuary Hawaii needed?

The Lanai Cat Sanctuary was founded by Lanai resident and cat lover Kathy Carroll and is home to nearly 600 cats!  

The story goes that cats used to help control the rat population back when Lanai was a leading producer of pineapple. 

cat sanctuary hawaii condos

The rats were big pineapple fans! However, Hawaii stopped producing the pineapple many years ago, the rat population declined, but the cats remained, thus leaving a kitty population problem!  

Plus cats were a threat to Hawaii's Ua’u, native flightless birds. A big NO-NO!

How was the Lanai Cat Sanctuary Hawaii started?

This is when Kathy Carroll stepped in. She had no vet, animal shelter, or program in place but Kathy organized a sterilization, vaccination and housing program. 

Over the last 10 years, Kathy has created a stable home for cats that provides lifelong housing, veterinary care, and lots of hugs! 

tabby cat asleep on table at sanctuary


Surprisingly, It’s also become a tourist attraction, as visitors will come to visit the Sanctuary and spend the day with the cats on the island. The sanctuary's goal is is to eliminate cat overpopulation on the island. To this day they are still actively rescuing cats, especially from the protected areas where the native endangered bird's nest.

Funding for this kitty paradise comes from the visitors to the sanctuary. Each visitor leaves a donation that helps support this kitty mission.

visitor feesing lots of cats treats

The Lanai Cat Sanctuary itself.

It's a large area spanning over 25,000 square feet. It provides shelter, food, and a playground for the cats to live and grow in. 

It has an array of kitty houses, condos, cat toys, shaded trees, kitty condos, obstacle courses to keep this large furry clan occupied! Visitors have the ability to interact with these happy felines.

The sanctuary workers are all super passionate about the cats and actually know most of the kitties by name and understand their different characters. Quite a big feat for 600 cats! 

lots and lots of cats in their housing accommodation

At some periods throughout the day, visitors even get to shake and distribute boxes of treats! It's quite a sight, and feeling, seeing an army of moggies tearing towards you! Worth the donation fee in itself, if you ask me! 

Also, remember, these cats are feral cats and they are incredibly friendly, surprisingly so. We were told that this is in a big way down to them being consistently around the sanctuary visitors! What a way to socialize them! 

In 2009, Lanai cat sanctuary Hawaii became a non-profit charity and relocated to a new and upgraded facility with better veterinary facilities, running water, and more space.

2 ginger kittensn and 2 tabby kittens looking at camera

Where is the Lanai Cat Sanctuary in Hawaii?

The Lanai Cat Sanctuary is located on the plateau in the center of the island. Lanai City, where most of Lanai's 3,500 residents live. 

The Sanctuary is located about two miles from town, near the airport. The Lanai shuttle service will charge around $10 each way and is the perfect way to get to the location.

If you like are a cat lover, we encourage you to visit Lanai and the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. 

You’ll have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with hundreds of cats! You may even end up adopting!

Who knows!

close up of tabby cat with its tongue hanging out

About the author

Jan Travell is a lifelong cat owner and a feline expert. She's been the Cats and Kittens lead editor from the start. She lives in rural France with her two rescue cats, Tigerlily and Mr.Gee. Her senior kitty, Ducati, passed over the rainbow bridge recently at the ripe old age of 22.

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